FIRST ON FOX: A Maryland school district that recently unveiled an LGBTQ-inclusive book list for elementary schools has declined to recommend several children’s books on the grounds that they promote “American values,” Fox News Digital has learned.
Fox News Digital first reported Tuesday that books recommended by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland’s wealthiest school district, teach words like “intersex” and “drag queen” to children as early as the age of 4 years.
Records later provided to Fox News Digital by Bethany Mandel, editor of the Heroes of Liberty book series, showed that MCPS recently declined to recommend three children’s non-fiction books that were donated to the school district by Heroes of Liberty. Liberty Inc., which seeks to counter the progressive literature favored by public schools.
The New York-based company donated three children’s books about libertarian economist Thomas Sowell, Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and founding father Alexander Hamilton for use in MCPS libraries and recommended for students from 2nd to 6th grade.
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According to records from the school district’s Responsible Assessments Database (DAE), MCPS declined to recommend the 2021 biography “Thomas Sowell: A Self-Made Man” on September 30.
The MCPS review said a “weakness” of Sowell’s book was that “the publisher has a stated mission to create books with ‘the American values that made this country great'”.
An MCPS review also conducted on Sept. 30 also declined to recommend the 2021 biography “Amy Coney Barrett: A Justice and a Mother.”
The MCPS review said two “weaknesses” of Coney Barrett’s book were that the “publisher appears to have an agenda – to publish books about people with ‘American values'” and that it “is glossing over a much of his life. The book is more about a message than an informative biography.”
A third review conducted by MCPS on September 30 declined to recommend the 2022 biography “Alexander Hamilton: From Immigrant Boy to Father.”
According to the review, a “weakness” of Hamilton’s book was that it “omits too much factual information about Hamilton’s life.” The book is more a message than an informative biography”.
The three Heroes of Liberty books have only been approved for “marginal” use. MCPS told Fox News Digital that schools can still request the books for use in their libraries.
“They were rated and recommended as ‘fringe’ schools, which means schools can still earn those titles, however, there could be more objective titles on the particular subject,” the district said.
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Notably, MCPS ratings for fiction books “My Rainbow,” which teaches words like “transgender” and “cisgender,” and “Prince & Knight,” which is about a gay romance between a prince and a knight. led them to be “highly recommended” for students in kindergarten through third grade.
Additionally, “My Rainbow” has been designated as a “handbook” for use in the classroom.
“This text can be used during the whole group time or in a small group during the [English language arts] block,” the June 22 assessment read.
“In the deep blue of Montgomery County, public schools will require elementary students to read books about gender and sexuality, but they won’t even accept a book donation if a publisher prioritizes American values” , Mandel told Fox News Digital.
MCPS told Fox News Digital that the Heroes of Liberty books were not excluded from libraries and that “several schools have requested one or more of the donated Liberty titles to add to their library collection.”
When asked why the promotion of American values is considered a “weakness”, MCPS replied, “Media scholars seek books that provide objective information on a variety of topics and it is important to know if a book is heavily influenced by a singular perspective. information is provided as a guide for any media scholar looking for books on a particular topic.”
“We want to reiterate MCPS’ policy of equity in the selection of materials: ‘Educational materials are selected to reflect the diversity of our global community, the aspirations, issues and accomplishments of women, people with disabilities, people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, as well as people of diverse gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation,” the school district said.
Fox News Digital previously reported that an MCPS staff presentation in August showed a list of LGBTQ+ books that will be provided to K-5 classes this year, including “My Rainbow” and “Prince & Knight.” . The presentation explained that the LGBTQ Inclusive Reading List aims to “reduce the stigma and marginalization of transgender and gender nonconforming students.”
One book MCPS has recommended for pre-kindergartners is “Pride Puppy,” which teaches terms like “intersex,” “drag king,” “drag queen,” and “Marsha P. Johnson,” the famous singer from dragsters.
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One book the school district has recommended for kindergarten students, ages 5 and 6, is the 2021 book “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” which is about a marriage between two men.
First-graders were recommended to read “Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All,” which includes LGBTQ+ topics about being “non-binary” and deciding “which pronouns work best for you.”
Fourth graders, aged 9 and 10, were asked to read “Love, Violet”, which tells the story of a young girl who has a crush on her friend.
The school district’s evaluation of this book conducted in June resulted in it being “highly recommended” for classroom use, and it was also designated as a “textbook”.
MCPS’ presentation on LGBTQ books provided several examples of potential complaints from parents and community members and how MCPS staff should respond. MCPS previously insisted in a statement to Fox News Digital that LGBTQ readings are not required and will not be scheduled for use until families are notified. However, the presentation included a guide on “Answering Caregiver/Community Questions” and two of the sample questions included: “Why can’t I opt out of this…” and “Can I keep my child at home? house…”, and neither. sample answers to these questions indicate that families can opt out.
In fact, if a parent asks why they “can’t” remove their children from the readings as they can with sexual health topics, MCPS staff are advised to explain that the readings are about “diversity.” not the anatomy, according to the presentation.
“During Family Health & Life, we learn science topics like biology, anatomy, puberty, and reproduction,” the sample response reads. “In these picture books and discussions, students learn about the diversity of identities that exist in the world and in our classroom; we don’t get into any of the scientific specificities. It’s like when we learn about different races, ethnicities and religions which are other social identities commonly discussed in school All children and their families deserve to see themselves and their families represented positively in our school community.
If a parent asks if they can keep their child home during LGBTQ readings, MCPS teachers are advised to explain that no effort will be made to persuade a child to hold certain beliefs.
“While there are no planned and explicit lessons related to gender and sexuality, students will see these identities embedded throughout,” the sample answer reads. “For students for whom some of these identities are new, questions and conversations can occur organically. Inclusive programs support a student’s ability to empathize, connect, and collaborate with a diverse group of peers, and encourage respect for all No child who does not agree with or understand another student’s gender, identity or expression, or sexual identity is encouraged to change what he feels about it.”
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MCPS previously told Fox News Digital that “these books are a means of updating policy and guidelines and have undergone a rigorous review process. All of the content they contain is age and developmentally appropriate.” .
“MCPS is committed to ensuring that all students and their families see themselves in the program to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming learning environment,” the school district continued. “These books are not required. These books are on the approved list of additional materials that schools will have access to, in line with our goal of providing more inclusive texts and resources in support of curriculum standards. As is our usual practice, these materials are not intended for use until system-wide communication has been sent to families.”